December 02, 2003
The Drudge That Stole Christmas
Twenty-three days left until Christmas and I haven't even given a thought as to what to buy anyone. So instead of racking my brain over what to get, I opted for my daily dose of Drudge
I don't quite recall when I became a news junkie, but I think it was sometime during my twenty something years when I had a long commute to work and tired of Top 40 radio. I can remember driving home, most of the time in the dark, listening to KRLD during their "All News, All of the Time" period. This was before Rush and his ilk, just pure news with little or no commentary.
Next came marriage and a civilized car with FM radio which opened up vast new horizons. Album rock or Ron Chapman during drive time? Hardly -- I discovered National Public Radio and a whole new array of news programming. Morning Edition, All Things Considered, BBC World Service -- news hound paradise, but only a small taste of things to come.
The bonanza came with cable TV and the internet. While the rest of the family is watching all of the derivatives of CSI and Law & Order, I'm in the back flipping channels between Fox News, MSNBC and CNN if I'm in the mood to watch TV and there's nothing interesting on The History Channel. And I've been known, on occasion, to listen to internet radio at work to catch up on what's happening in the world or to catch Science Friday on an Austin radio station. And I always have Yahoo opened on a window at work to catch the latest headlines plus track my investments.
My father's entire news universe consisted of two things, the Dallas Morning News and Walter Cronkite. Between the two I feel that he was able to piece together a pretty realistic world view. Times have changed though, and the media outlets have become more about entertainment than information. With the 2004 elections looming, political reporting has become more about campaign gossip and a horserace than about a serious discussion about real issues. It's not the media's fault -- to remain commercially viable they have to deliver a product that the consumer will buy. So spare me your cries of media bias, newspapers and network news departments are commercial enterprises now and bottom-line and consumer oriented, well, perhaps with the exception of the New York Times and the Washington Post...
As a result I scan most of the major dailies online, especially the Op/Ed pages. And though I'm unabashedly conservative, I read stuff from both sides of the political aisle and both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It's the only way I've found to make sense of it all.
But it doesn't help a bit when it comes to Christmas shopping for my relatives...